HSBC reports 12% slide in first-half profits

Banking giant HSBC today unveiled a 12 per cent drop in profits for the first half of the year and said it had set aside a further $234 million (£139m) for customer compensation in the UK.

Europe’s biggest bank, which has a presence in 74 countries, posted a pre-tax profit of $12.3 billion for the first six months of 2014, down from $14bn for the same period a year earlier and shy of analysts’ forecasts of $12.5bn.

Chief executive Stuart Gulliver is pressing ahead with turnaround plan that started in 2011 and has seen 40,000 jobs axed and 60 businesses either sold or closed as he seeks to make the bank more efficient deliver better shareholder returns.

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He said today: “Whilst we have foregone a substantial amount of revenue through this process, it has created a more coherent, logical and stronger bank with a solid platform for growth.

“We remain broadly positive about the economic outlook for the majority of our home and priority markets. The UK in particular should maintain a firm recovery.”

Today’s results showed HSBC took a $234m charge for “UK customer redress programmes” to cover issues such as mis-sold payment protection insurance, although that figure was down from $412m a year ago.